Dilma Rousseff has postponed a planned trip to the United States in October over revelations that the National Security Agency spied on her personal communications and those of other Brazilians.
The White House confirmed the postponement in a statement from Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday. Carney signaled that after a review of policy, a meeting at a later date is possible.
“As the President previously stated, he has directed a broad review of U.S. intelligence posture, but the process will take several months to complete,” Carney said.
“President Obama and President Rousseff both look forward to the State Visit, which will celebrate our broad relationship and should not be overshadowed by a single bilateral issue, no matter how important or challenging the issue may be. For this reason, the presidents have agreed to postpone President Rousseff’s State Visit to Washington scheduled for October 23.
“President Obama looks forward to welcoming President Rousseff to Washington at a date to be mutually agreed.”
The postponement came after Obama made a last-minute phone call to Rousseff on Monday night. It also came amid outrage in Brazil after Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald reported on the NSA’s operations in Brazil, based on documents from NSA leak source Edward Snowden. The documents revealed that the NSA had spied on Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Detractors have painted Rousseff’s posturing as a double-standard, considering Brazil’s operation of its own massive spying apparatus. Former intelligence analyst Joshua Foust detailed why earlier this month:
Brazil, for example, operates its own massive domestic spying operation — a detail Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, leaves out of all of his outraged writing about the NSA. In 2008, ABIN, Brazil’s intelligence agency, secretly recorded a conversation between Supreme Court president Gilmar Mendes and Sen. Demóstenes Torres. The president at the time, Lula da Silva, suspended the agency’s chief spy, but no one knows how long or how often senior officials were wiretapped. […]
Earlier this year, ABIN was accused of spying on a movement to oppose the construction of the Belo Monto Dam in Northern Brazil. That wasn’t a unique incident, either: in June Brazil’s intel service launched a massive effort to surveil and eavesdrop on social media — a reaction to this year’s mass protests that Brazilian police violently beat down.
Pres. Rousseff did not like being surprised by social unrest, so she ordered the monitoring — yet she seems offended the U.S. would monitor her to avoid surprises.
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